Birthdays are for relaxation, so when choosing a spot for my 30th, the hot springs of Pucón, Chile had my name all over it. Set on the shores of Villarica Lake, below a majestic volcano of the same name, the town was a b-day wish come true.
Backpackers flock here to hike the active Villarica volcano, river raft, and in our case soak in the termas and relax by the lake.
Stepping it up for the special occasion, we checked into this chic bed and breakfast called La Casona. Converted from a traditional Southern Chilean house in 2006, it felt like being invited to a rich aunt’s house and spoiled for the weekend.
Though the gift of all birthday gifts was hands down our reunion with peanut butter. Out of ritual, in each previous city Mike and I always arrive at the local super market to cruise the jelly aisle in hopes of finding that crunchy, creamy, backpacker gold but it is always followed by disappointment—until now! Four countries and 72 days into our trip, Pucón had a special shipment from Greenville, Illinois waiting just for me.
With our PB&J picnic in hand, we went 20-minutes out of town to Los Pozones Hot Springs. There are a number of fancy spas in the area but we loved this one for its rustic river setting (and unbeatable price–$8 for the day!).
On our little hike down the hill it was hard not to stop and smell the flowers, something Mike is never shy to do, as long as it involves a photo.
Ladders lead right from the charming wooden changing rooms right into the hot pools—very handy in winter, I’m sure.
The eight pools are sculpted out of the environment with rock walls and pebble bottoms. Each one gets hotter as you move down the hill with the hottest reaching 108 degrees.
We enjoyed the pools right up until sunset but we were tempted to stay there for some stargazing. (We also heard it is quiet the party late night).
Ever been to natural hot springs? Which were your favorite?
Restaurants: Raices, delicious local Chilean food! We had an unreal seafood stew.
Hotels: La Casona, cozy but sophisticated with a fantastic complimentary breakfast. For truly traditional Pucon, check out the charming Gudenschwager Hotel, built on the lake in 1923.
Adventures: Volcano Villarica. We were in relaxation mode but if we ever go back to Pucón we would take a guided crampon hike up the lava spitting beauty.
Hot Springs: We loved Las Termas, and if you have extra time to make a day trip out to Termas Geometricas is supposed to be magical.
Peanut Butter Dealer: Supermercado Elit Pucón. Stock up now, you may never find Skippy again.